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analysis: trump's syria strike sends message, carries risks

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analysis: trump's syria strike sends message, carries risks

palm beach, fla. — the cruise missiles that crashed down before dawn on a syrian air base sent a clear message to president bashar assad: the use of chemical weapons will be met with u.s. force.the outcome is less clear: assad's grip on power is as firm as ever and he has lost little of his ability to carry out more chemical attacks.president donald trump said the goal of the military action was deterrence. officials said strikes targeted the shayrat air base to prevent it from being used to launch attacks like the one this week that killed more than 80 people and provided sickening images of individuals suffering from exposure to a sarin-like nerve gas. the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas were struck.the united states is not at war with syria — at least not yet. the intervention was extremely limited, giving assad's military the ability to end it there by changing its behavior and allowing for washington to incrementally expand its military action if required.but the surprise barrage of missiles raises questions about where u.s. syria policy is headed after trump's rapid reversal of positions in recent days. just last week, his administration stressed that removing assad from power was no longer a priority and that america's focus was entirely on defeating an islamic state insurgency in the north of the country. but on thursday night trump appeared to endorse a new, open-ended commitment to respond to any use by assad of weapons of mass...